by Matt Kelchner
Earlier this year, prolific singer/songwriter and all around good guy Kevin Devine announced a series of 7” records that would be released via Bad Timing Records. Dubbed the “Devinyl Splits”, each would feature Devine on one side and a special guest on the other side. Tigers Jaw, Mike Kinsella of Owen/American Football and Matthew Caws of Nada Surf were just a few of the acts that partnered up for the special occasion. Last Saturday Devine gathered every artist from this year’s Devinyl Splits series for a special and unique show at the TLA.
The lineup read something like this: Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band, Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh of Tigers Jaw, Matthew Caws of Nada Surf, Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy, Mike Kinsella of Owen/American Football, Cymbals Eat Guitars and a special guest which just so happened to be Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey. At the beginning of the night, Devine explained how exactly he would be managing to fit everyone on stage. “It’s like a weird variety show,” he explained.
Each act would get a mini set that would last anywhere from 2-5 songs. In between each, Devine and his band would play a handful of songs. For some of the artists, Devine would join them onstage for a song or two. When all was said and done the show wound up being around three hours long, not including the intermission. For the night, Devine partnered with local food bank Philabundance and prior to the show encouraged fans to bring canned goods to donate.
From start to finish, every band member that had a part in Saturday night’s show had an overwhelming sense of excitement and happiness to be a part of the unique concert. All throughout the night, many stories were shared in between songs. These ranged from Meredith Graves detailing how Devine helped her write one of her first songs as a solo artist to Jesse Lacey and Devine recalling one of Devine’s very early song ideas.
The first half of the show included Mike Kinsella, Meredith Graves and Matthew Caws, in that order. Kinsella came out with just himself, an acoustic guitar and a beer to perform a few Owen songs including“Good Friends With Band Habits”. Meredith Graves was joined on stage with Devine and his band, along with Cymbals Eat Guitars frontman Joe D’Agostino for her second performance ever as a solo artist. Together, they played a pair of songs that included her cut from her split with Devine, “Took The Ghost To the Movies”. Matthew Caws of the famed band Nada Surf held back from playing the group’s hit single “Popular” (even though it was requested) and instead played selections like “Blizzard of ‘77”, “See These Bones” as well as Caws song from the split series, “Fiscal Cliff”.
Following the brief intermission, Cymbals Eat Guitars kicked off the second half with a few buzzing tracks such as “Jackson” as well as their “Devinyl Splits” song “Aerobed”. Jesse Lacey served as the producer for the recording and joined Cymbals Eat Guitars to help with the vocals. Brianna Collins of Tigers Jaw joined Devine on stage to help sing “For Eugene” before bandmate Ben Walsh joined her. Together the two played a few songs acoustically, “Chemicals” and “Teen Rocket”, before being joined with Devine and his band for their cover of The Cure’s “In Between Days” and their own “Cool”.
Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey, longtime friend of Kevin Devine, first came out to assist with the vocals on a trio of Devine’s songs “Tomorrow’s Just Too Late”, “Cotton Crush” and “Ballgame” before diving into his own material. Together Devine and Lacey, backed by Devine’s band, played Brand New’s only song that was released this year, “Mene”. Following the new track, they then went into a few classics. “Okay I Believe But My Tommy Gun Don’t” came first and aided with the help of Joe D’Agostino from Cymbals Eat Guitars. Lacey wrapped up his portion of the night with a solo performance of “Soco Amaretto Lime” that was easily the loudest sung song from the crowd.
Before getting off stage, Lacey teamed up with Devine and his band one last time for a cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium”. Devine ended the night with “Brother’s Blood” from his 2009 album of the same name. While there were a number of other acts along with the fact that Brand New fans would travel across oceans to see the band, the crowd was clearly a Kevin Devine crowd that night.
When it came time for Devine to hit the stage, he alternated between solo and full band. Song selection wise, he favored more newer material than old, but did not completely ignore the latter. His cuts from the “Devinyl Splits” series, like “Geißen” and his version of The Cure’s “Love Song”, were on full display Saturday night. Others included “The Burning City Smoking”, “Buried By The Buzz” and one of the many crowd favorites “Redbird”.
As much as the night was Devine’s, he also made it about every artist that was involved with his “Devinyl Split” series. Fitting this around every artist’s schedule could not have been any easy task, but the outcome was well worth it. Saturday night at the TLA might not have been your typical show, but it was easily one of the best of the year. Fingers crossed Devine treats us with a second round of the “Devinyl Splits”, and shows to go along with them.